On World Heritage Day I’m overjoyed to share this piece about the places I grew in- my school, a church and my city Hyderabad in India. ❤
History is not taught right,
It is not even written right,
I come from a city,
That is 500 years old,
I grew up eating at a sweets shop,
That is five decades old,
I often savoured the world famous dish
of my city,
At a hotel which stared off as a canteen,
Inside a film theatre,
Just three years after the first ever general elections in independent India.
It’s called Paradise!
I bought my school uniform,
From the same retailers for 12 years,
Who opened three years before
my dad moved out of his village.
I prayed under the roof of
a church founded in 1840,
For ten consecutive years,
That roof which was dismantled three times,
for non serious reasons,
By the local British regiment,
That had Winston Churchill posted as a subaltern,
Stalling its construction.
Its building has its soul strewn,
Along the the timeline of world history.
That building which was used,
As a shelter during the second world war,
Was my first introduction to vintage grandeur,
Even before I had the age and maturity,
To learn what school of art it belonged to.
It’s called Indian gothic style.
I studied in a school,
Founded by six Sisters of St.Anne,
Who came from Turin in 1871,
It has been 175 years!
Where is the record?
In which text book?
The dust on the glass cover of the clock,
Held high proudly like a trophy,
Almost tearing apart the clouds,
By a concrete tower.
Though in the middle of noisy modern hustle,
It still does its job splendidly,
Is anyone noticing its age?
And just adjacent to it is a 70 year old resturant, a landmark indeed.
Thanks to public works department, it will be demolished soon, uprooted from foundation.
Should we not hurry up to gather its story?
After passing out from school,
I deposited shards of my heart,
In the wood that went into shaping,
The desks of my classroom,
On the third floor,
I used to sit by the window,
And admire the height of the church walls.
I thought I was too young for any philosophy,
But now I realize,
I was beyond my age.
That moment of solitude,
Ten minutes before the school bell rang,
In the silence of the church,
In the silence of my classroom,
I dwelled there,
A home I left after I grew wings,
Over my narrow shoulders.
After ten years from then,
I still want to crawl back into that familiar seclusion,
In the corners of benches,
In the fragrance of flowers on campus.
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